It’s my sister’s birthday today. I am waiting for a decent hour to call her and wish her a “happy birthday” in case she’s decided to take advantage of the moment and sleep in late. She is my next oldest sibling and growing up, she is the one of my three siblings that I interacted with the most. There is a decent age spread between each of us so my oldest two siblings were out of the house and in college when I was still pretty young. Though we definitely played together when we were young we also fought a lot and really didn’t start to “like” each other until I was in high school and she left for college. Now as adults, we live in different states and though at this juncture we have pretty regular contact with each other that hasn’t always been the case, despite the fact that nothing significant has ever happened to pull us apart and then back together again. It just seems to be the pull of the tide of our relationship.
Siblings relationships are funny. I have a good friend who is incredibly close to his older brothers and they continue to both socialize and work together. They are all friends with each other’s friends and their bond is incredibly tight. I have other friends who have little or no contact at all with their brothers and sisters and still others who have primary contact around family holidays but light contact at other times. I find myself looking at my sons who were once the world to each other and who are now growing in their own separate directions. When they are together – they are pretty close, recognizing and accepting each other’s differences and still presenting a united force against their common nemesis – me.
I hope that when they grow into men that they are always close – loving and supporting each other through life’s diverse moments – but who knows – they could grow to be distant and uninvolved with each other’s lives. As a mom, I do what I can to foster their bond, and that’s about it – because really how their relationship grows over time, doesn’t have that much to do with me. I am not sure what causes two siblings to grow into adulthood as best friends and what causes them to become indifferent strangers, but I do what I can to support the former orientation.
As children, our families are our world – friendships are peripheral. As we grow we create our own families, by choice of partner and the family we create together and by choice of friends who we bond with in profound and meaningful ways in many instances. There are many senses of family, and how we experience and define it has a myriad of possible faces. It would be nice if that family of origin always remains tight, but sometimes it is the family we create, however we define them, that becomes the real connection in our lives. Whatever the source, however it is defined that deep connection with other people is the key. Knowing that there is someone out there who has your back, who wants the best for you and who loves you even when they know the aspects of you that are less than appealing is what is important. Loving and caring for others really allows us the opportunity to be experience what it is to be human – and opens some of the deepest parts of ourselves to the possibilities of life.
So on that note; happy birthday sister of mine, may the year ahead truly bring you great happiness and fulfillment.